My Stretch: Birmingham Canal Main Line

Day-trippers, walkers, and duck-feeders explain why they love Birmingham Canal Main Line

Interviews: Helen Clifton

Photography: Andrew Jackson


Emily Jayne Phillips and Dan Hallsworth

Emily: “My grandfather was a member of the canal society, and we used to go out on boats all the time. Coming here really reminds me of my childhood. We love it.  Today we’re going for something to eat in one of the pubs along the canal. It’s wonderful here, best place in the city.”

Richard Keddie and his dog Halycon

“I walk Halycon here about two or three times a day, and live in one of the canalside apartments. I really like the regeneration of the area, and the continuing changes. There’s a new pub, the Fiddle and Bone, on Sherborne Wharf and the food is amazing. I love going out for a drink along the canal.”

Daniel Ilott and son Jack

Daniel: “We’ve just been to Birmingham Museum to see the mummies, and Jack likes watching the birds and the barges. We love rivers and canals. As a former scuba diver, the water and me are one. I work in the city, and the canal is an escape. I remember how derelict this area was in the ‘80s. It’s fantastic compared to how it used to be.”

Jim Casselles

“I’m over from Belfast for a conference. I’m an engineer so I have an interest in industrial heritage. I’ve walked along the canal this morning for about five or six miles.  Now I’m off for a bite to eat. The buildings along the canal are fascinating. I hadn’t been to Birmingham for a long time; I think I’ll definitely be back.”

Nigel Saunders

“It only takes me 20 minutes to walk back home to Ladywood along the water. It’s a lovely sunny day, and this is so much nicer than sitting on a bus. The canal brings tourism into the city and it gives Birmingham character. Birmingham has got more canals than Venice, doesn’t it?”

Julia Bacchus with granddaughter Tillayh McMorron

Julia: “I come from Rugby to visit my mum who lives by the canal. I always walk to and from the station to her house along here. Today we are looking for the geese and the ducks. You wouldn’t believe we’re in the centre of Birmingham. It’s so much more peaceful, and everyone is polite.”

Charlene Reid

“Cycling along the canal, you see this huge mix of architecture. I really like the industrial aspect to all the buildings. And it’s a very peaceful and safe way to get to the city centre from Ladywood and Edgbaston. That is what appeals to me. The surface is also very well-maintained, even in the ice and snow.”

Diana Nahle

“I’m a student from Cardiff, just visiting. We Googled the best things to do in Birmingham and this came up. It is the only natural thing in the city so people are attracted to it. It’s calming and relaxing, and you get away from the city and the cars.”


Shams Al-Qaraghuli, husband Laith Jasim and daughter Reema

Shams:” “I love it here by the canal.  I actually think it is better than the city centre. It really adds something to the area. The canals, the ducks, the geese, and the boats, they are unique to Birmingham. And when you sit and look at the water, it makes you feel relaxed.”

Mohammad Salman

“I’m a student at Birmingham University, and I’m showing my friends around. We’re going for something to eat by the canalside. It’s peaceful, down-to-earth. There’s no fuss or hassle, it just feels natural. It’s a really good place to escape the stress of exams.” 

Last date edited: 13 April 2015

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